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Mother's Day Kicks Off National Women's Health Week- Take these Steps toward Better Health

Mother's Day Kicks Off National Women's Health Week- Take these Steps toward Better Health

May 8 marks not only Mother's Day, but also the start of National Women's Health Week. In support of National Women's Health Week, which is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health, ATRIO Health Plan is sharing steps that women can take to improve their physical and mental well- being.

Women tend to assume the role of caregiver and often put the needs of others ahead of their own. National Women's Health Week is an ideal time to remind women regarding the importance of attending to their own needs, particularly those related to preserving their health.

Steps Toward Better Health

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health encourages women to embrace the following steps that are designed to improve their physical as well as mental health:

  • Get moving – Strive to engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity most days of the week. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans," regular physical activity can lower the risk of: heart disease; stroke; high blood pressure; unhealthy cholesterol levels; type 2 diabetes; colon cancer; breast cancer; and depression.

Regular physical activity also can improve your cardiorespiratory (heart, lungs, and blood vessels) and muscular fitness. Additional benefits include: losing weight; lowering the risk of hip fractures, lung cancer, and endometrial cancer; increasing bone density; and improving sleep quality.

  • Be picky about what’s on your plate – To help prevent heart disease, stroke, and potentially other diseases, become a big fan of: fruits; vegetables; grains (particularly whole grains, such as whole wheat, oatmeal, and brown rice); fat-free or reduced-fat dairy products; fish; skinless poultry; lean red meats; dry beans; eggs; nuts; polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Further, give two thumbs down to foods high in: saturated fat; trans-fat; cholesterol; sodium; and added sugars. If alcohol is consumed, limit consumption to one drink daily. One drink is defined as: 12-fluid ounces of beer; 5-fluid ounces of wine; or 1.5-fluid ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits
  • Schedule regular checkups and preventive screenings – Screening tests often can detect diseases early, which is when they are most treatable. Screening tests are available for numerous conditions, including breast cancer; cervical cancer; high cholesterol; high blood pressure; colorectal cancer; diabetes; osteoporosis; chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections; and HIV. For an age-specific list of recommended screenings and immunizations for women, visit http://www.womenshealth.gov/screening-tests-and-vaccines/index.html and then consult with your health-care provider.
  • Make smart choices – While the onset of many medical conditions is beyond our control, avoiding risky behaviors is a proactive step that can be taken to help reduce the potential for negative health outcomes. High on the list of risky behaviors are smoking, not wearing a seatbelt, and having unprotected sex with multiple partners.
  • Pay attention to mental health – Good mental health is an important component of a woman's overall health. Although all women experience anxiety and sadness at points in their lives, a true mental-health disorder impacts a woman's ability to navigate daily life. If this is the case, it's essential to seek professional help. Mental-health disorders are real medical conditions that can be treated successfully and should never be ignored. Managing stress, as well as getting adequate sleep, are key elements in maintaining maximal mental health.

The Gift of Good Health

Looking ahead to Mother's Day and National Women's Health Week, ATRIO Health Plans encourages everyone to celebrate and honor their mothers by not only giving traditional gifts such as flowers and Sunday brunch but also by reminding their moms to take time and focus on their own health-care needs.

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